When you’re buying a house, one of the things that your conveyancer will establish is whether the property is being sold under freehold or under a leasehold arrangement. For most houses, the sale will be on a freehold basis, so you own both the property and the outdoor space (including the land that the property sits on) with no costs payable to a third party.
For flat purchases, there is usually a leasehold, which means you don’t own the property outright but only for the duration of the lease. This will often be for hundreds of years, and you will be obliged to pay a charge to the freehold owner on an annual basis for the land that the property sits upon.
There is a lot of controversy around leasing and the legal implications of these arrangements, which can date back for decades. There is no reason to avoid a leasehold, though, if you are clear on how the system works and have good advice from your conveyancing solicitors Maidstone wide.
Getting Professional Advice
Before making a decision you’ll need professional advice. For conveyancing solicitors Maidstone offers various firms which can help. Your solicitor will be able to establish how long any lease is set to run for – usually for around 100 years but it can stretch to up to 999 years. They will also confirm what costs you will need to pay. This is usually in the form of a service charge.
What Fees Cover
The fee cover things such as common area electricity, grass cutting, repairs to doors and walls and annual ground rent. These can sometimes double in cost over a period of a decade or a shorter time frame – known as onerous rent. These arrangements have attracted a lot of controversy.
Progress on fixing this situation has been limited, although the government has proposed measures to fix the issues of escalating ground rents and have carried out various consultations.
Bear in mind that it will be trickier to obtain a mortgage for any property which a short lease of less than seventy years. Properties with short leases can also be harder to sell, as they are less appealing to buyers. However, it is easy to extend a lease. Once you have owned the leased property for two years you can extend it by a further ninety if you are a ‘qualifying tenant’.